17 Sep 2015

New Northern Territory guidelines for development and infrastructure impacting on the road network

by Nicole Besgrove, Margaret Michaels

The Northern Territory Government has released guidelines aimed at streamlining the development approval process for any development or infrastructure that impacts on the road network or that will ultimately be transferred to the Government.

The Northern Territory Department of Transport released the Development Guidelines for Northern Territory Controlled Roads on 26 August 2015 which sets out the processes and requirements for development on land and the construction of infrastructure on controlled roads and within road reserves.

Need for the Development Guidelines

With the Northern Territory containing over 22,000 kilometres of road under the care and control of the Government and the rising number of development applications per year likely to impact on the road network, the Department of Transport has prepared and released the Development Guidelines to provide clarity for developers about their obligations and the approval process for development on land and the construction of infrastructure within the Northern Territory road network.

When will the Development Guidelines apply?

The Development Guidelines will apply when a development or any aspect of a development:

  • may affect the Northern Territory road network including physical infrastructure, traffic, operation, management, capacity or safety; and/or
  • may be accepted by the Department of Transport for ongoing care, control and management.

The Northern Territory "road network" includes roads declared to be under the care, control and management of the Department of Transport and road reserves. Roads under control of the Department of Transport include freeways, national highways, roads that serve a special purpose (for example, tourist access roads within the Northern Territory's National Parks) and all roads in unincorporated areas.

The Development Guidelines must be read in conjunction with all relevant legislation and policies which may apply to a development. If there is a conflict between the Development Guidelines and any relevant legislation or policies, the latter will prevail.

What do the Development Guidelines do?

Development assessment for all works that impact upon the Northern Territory road network under the Planning Act (NT) and the Northern Territory Planning Scheme will involve the Department of Transport playing an advisory role in land development applications and acting as the approval agency for Road Authority Approvals. The Development Guidelines aim to clarify those requirements and processes for the assessment of those works which are relevant to the Department of Transport's roles.

While the primary focus is on the Road Agency Approval process (including proposals requiring a Permit to work within a Northern Territory Road Reserve), an outline of the Department of Transport's role in the assessment of land use development applications, Development Permit and Planning Scheme Amendment, is also included. The Development Guidelines contain flowcharts, checklists and certificate templates in the appendices which are relevant to the Road Agency Approval process.

What you need to do

  • Confirm whether the proposed development or infrastructure may impact on the Northern Territory road network.
  • Prepare any development application which may impact on the road network in accordance with all relevant legislation and policies, including the Development Guidelines. Note that guidelines and policies can be the subject of ongoing amendment, therefore it is important to ensure that when preparing any development application, the current version is used.
  • Where any aspect of development is not addressed by the Development Guidelines and other technical policies or the development does not comply with the technical policies, contact the Department of Transport as soon as possible.
  • Any proposed development and infrastructure which will be transferred to the Department of Transport should be discussed with the Department prior to any design work being undertaken.
  • Obtain all necessary approvals before commencing development. These approvals may include:
    • Development Permit;
    • Planning Scheme Amendment;
    • Services Permit (for example, approval from a service authority to install a proposed service, or to connect to an existing service in a road reserve;
    • Road Agency Approval; and/or
    • Permit to work within the Road Reserve.

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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.